The Cu Chi tunnels were a complex network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Saigon, Vietnam. They were part of a much larger network of tunnels which had been built by the Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnam War. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968. They were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. The role of the tunnel systems should not be underestimated in its importance to the Viet Cong in resisting American operations and protracting the war, eventually culminating in an American withdrawal.
Life in the tunnels was difficult. Air, food and water were scarce and the tunnels were infested with ants, poisonous centipedes, spiders and mosquitoes. Most of the time, guerrillas would spend the day in the tunnels working or resting and come out only at night to scavenge for supplies, tend their crops or engage the enemy in battle. Sometimes, during periods of heavy bombing or American troop movement, they would be forced to remain underground for many days at a time.